Ala Wai harbor repaving
begins in heliport area

By Diana Leone

Work begins today on a $175,281 contract to repave about one-fourth of the asphalt surface of the Ala Wai Boat Harbor.

Workers for Alakona Corp. will spend three or four days on the heliport area, said Steve Thompson, Oahu district manager for the state Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.

The heliport has about 160 stalls and is most often used by surfers and canoe paddlers. During the repaving people can park in other nearby free lots, Thompson said.

Additional areas to be paved in the first two weeks of August are: the makai mole (land strip) that leads to slips in rows 600 and 700; two lots near the harbormaster's office; the lot for boat trailer parking; and some asphalt sidewalks.

Thompson wasn't able to say yesterday when these areas were last paved. He said the work is needed now, despite plans for the state to seek bids in the near future from private firms that wish to manage the harbor.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources, which oversees the Boating Division, authorized privatization of the harbor in December, saying it couldn't afford the cost of needed repairs. Last week the board adopted a report by a citizen's group that recommends minimum standards for a private operator.

Thompson said he doesn't see the "likelihood we'll be handing somebody the keys in the next few months." And in the meantime, the boating division is "still tasked with the maintenance and upkeep of that facility."

Ala Wai user Janet Mandrell questioned the state's choice to spend money on paving when she says there are other, more urgent needs.

"We've got safety issues here, as noted in (state Auditor Marilyn) Higa's report," Mandrell said.

"The entire 800 row (of boat slips) does not have a fire system installed," Mandrell said. "And docks B, C and D are held together with pieces of plywood at intersections. ... I think the potholes are far down on the list of priorities."

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